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April Foole: A Day in a Life that’s Fraught with Fraud

There’s an old saying that a fool and his (or her) money are easily parted. In honor of April Fools’ Day, here’s a cautionary tale about an office manager who seems oblivious to financial threats. See if you can identify how many times she puts herself or others at risk of fraud, identity theft, or other crimes.

April Foole woke to a rainy spring morning, frustrated that the weather wasn’t cooperating on her day off from work. Before she was even done with breakfast, business intruded with a phone call.

“April? It’s Kent,” said the voice on the other end. Kent Trust was one of her friends from work. “I need to double-check some info in the accounts payable file, but I don’t have the log-in. What should I do?”

“Just use mine. I keep my username and password on a sticky note at my computer,” April answered. “Thanks, and let me know if you have any more questions.”

Glancing at the pile of bills on her breakfast table, April noticed that her credit card payment was due soon. She wrote a check, sealed it with the bill, then walked it out to the mailbox. The mail carrier had already been there, and there were a couple envelopes waiting. She pulled them out, then stuck in the credit card payment and turned up the little red flag to let the mail carrier know there was something to pick up tomorrow.

Back inside, she checked her mail. The first was her monthly checking account statement from her bank. She quickly glanced through it and everything looked fine. She crumpled it up and tossed it toward the trash can. She shoots, she scores!

Next was an envelope with a check for $1,500. It was from the woman who had bought April’s collection of leg-warmers from the ‘80s, which she had sold online. But they agreed on a price of $150. Confused, April checked her email and found a message from the buyer:

“April, I’m so stupid sometimes! I just realized I mailed you a check for the wrong amount – $1,500 instead of $150. Instead of me sending a different check and delaying things, maybe you could just deposit my check and wire the difference back to me? You could send it to my acct. #5346428432265 at Suckerborn Bank. Thanks so much, Connie Artest.”

April considered this for a moment and decided it sounded like a good solution. Besides, she hadn’t even mailed the leg-warmers yet, so if anything went wrong she just wouldn’t send them. She decided to take the check right to the bank and wire Connie the extra money.

However, she needed to deal with a couple more emails. In fact, one was from her bank. It said they suspected her debit card may have been stolen, so they had frozen her card. The email said that if she had the card, she should re-activate it by entering her name, card number and Social Security Number to verify her identity. Glad that her bank was looking out for her, April quickly typed in the info and clicked on the icon marked “Submit.”

The last new email was from a man who claimed he was the former finance minister of an African nation who needed help transferring $90 million into the U.S. In exchange for serving as a “payment processor,” she would receive a commission of $1 million. April rolled her eyes, wondering who would fall for such an obvious scam. She deleted the email.

Before heading to the bank, April updated her status online: “Got the $ from my sale & headed to bank to cash out. Anybody up for an overnight road trip? I’m headed to Atlantic City!”

 

This story and the characters and businesses mentioned in it are fictional. Any resemblance to actual people or events is purely coincidence…or it may be because each day actual people make the same mistakes April did – hopefully not all at once! Where did she go wrong?

 

 

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Posted in Banking Basics.

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